Thoughts from and to the community-minded . . .
Wendell Berry has spoken clearly and for such a long time about the ways industrialization and the consumer economy have caused the breakup of families, farms and communities. This quote gets right to the heart of the matter. It is the business case for remembering the abundance of our communities and the imperative of a walkable life. Here is Berry:
The enlargement of industrial technology is thus analogous to war. It continually requires the movement of knowledge and responsibility away from home. It thrives on the disintegration of homes, the subjugation of homelands. It requires that people cease to cooperate directly to fulfill local needs from local sources and begin instead to deal with each other always across the rift that divides producer and consumer and always competitively. The idea of the independence of individual farms, shops, communities, and households is anathema to industrial technologists… The corporate producers … and government will do virtually anything (or so they have obliged us to assume) to keep people from acquiring necessities in any way except by buying them.
—Wendell Berry, “Standing by Words,” courtesy of The Safeguard Letter, Early Summer 2010
The July 20, 2010 Washington Post reports that 15% of America’s carbon dioxide emissions, a billion tons a year, are in the hands of citizens. Which means it is up to us to use less electricity, choose energy efficient products, keep better maintained vehicles. All low cost or free. No laws or regulation required, no pointing to the enemy, no waiting until others get the point.
Mike Mather is the pastor of Broadway United Methodist Church in Indianapolis. He is mentioned in the Pioneer section of The Abundant Community book for ending church programs and starting to organize and recognize the capacities of neighbors. This year, he has a summer project going called “Name, Bless, Connect.” Thirty-five young people are knocking on doors in the neighborhood talking to people about doing three things: (1) Making a list of each person’s gifts, talents and willingness to teach others. (2) Connecting people to each other. (3) Laying hands on them to bless them. This church is changing the world through the way they touch those in plain sight.
A young Folle Avoine stabbed a young Sioux in a fit of jealousy. He was drunk. The Sioux Indians outside the fort seized the young Folle Avoine Indian and kept him in confinement, well tied and guarded by several young Sioux; but the Sioux chiefs sent for the young Folle Avoine and made him a present of a blanket and some articles of clothing, and made him and the young Sioux whom he had stabbed, eat out of the same dish together, thus forgiving and forgetting the past.
Journal of a Voyage from St. Louis to the Falls of St. Anthony in 1819, by Thomas Forsyth, Indian Agent for the Sauk and Fox
The enemy of truth is not error. The enemy of truth is certainty.
When Einstein sleeps, does he still know physics?
Henry Benoit writes that there is one, and only one, appropriate action in any given moment of time. If you are in that action, then you are happy and peaceful….We want a maximum number of choices and the freedom to choose among them. Madison Avenue is the purveyor of discontent; virtually all advertising is designed to create discontent so as to create a market for a product.
—Robert A. Johnson with Jerry Ruhl, Balancing Heaven and Earth